The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
~ Mark Twain
Perhaps you only go into one course shell. If that’s your good fortune, then read no further. There are others out there who have responsibilities in more than one room, right? You know who you are. You’re one of those who had to visit 14 shells just to wish your students a Happy Thanksgiving! There you were with 14 turkeys and 14 pieces of text to copy and paste into 14 places armed with 14 Object ID numbers. Was that you? Help is here!
You will now be able to EDIT your Announcement as well as MANAGE your Global Announcements. The new Global Announcement feature offers a one-stop shop for the announcements in all your class shells. That’s right! All course announcements can now be controlled from one location. When you first try to manage your global announcements, you’ll be informed that you have none. Why not add one?
Global Announcements can only be created via the TEACHER account. No TA power.
One graphic for all!
All graphic files are linked from the common folder area. Upload once and serve all.
Object ID’s are NOT valid here.
Once you have created some, you can edit or delete them, or you can always add a new one:
Here are the steps for adding a new one:
1. Give your announcement a name.
2. Enter text into the expandable text box. The system will always assume the entry to be HTML.
3. Pick a start date for your entry.
4. Pick an end date for the same.
5. If you want this to be IMMEDIATELY active, check the box.
6. Select to courses in which you want this to appear.
7. Pick to display above or below your current announcement.
8. SAVE or lose your custom announcement.
When done, you will be returned to the Global Announcements page. Your work will be listed in the table:
Each of the rows can be dragged up or down to change the order. The column headings are self-explanatory, and you can quickly view your announcement data. There are many use cases for utilization of this new feature. Think of the possibilities! Better still… why not tell each other and us how you plan to use this?
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~ Winston Churchill
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
~ Stephen R. Covey
About one month ago we released Feedback Snippets. Since then you’ve been posting comments on our Facebook page, comments to this blog, and e-mailing us suggestions for improvement. We’ve been listening this whole time, compiling notes, trying to understand the meat of the requests … so that we could act.
One of the first requests for Feedback Snippets was to add them to email. We’ve now given you the ability to insert your snippets into e-mail. They work just like they work in assessment feedback. There is, however one caveat to snippets in e-mail. The student variables (e.g. “$StudentFirstName”, ”$StudentLastName”, and “$StudentFullName”) will not work as expected. As you can see below the variables will remain in place, so you’ll have to replace them manually.
You’ve also asked that we bring back the “Assignment Comment Template” functionality. As of today, you can set snippets as “Assignment Defaults”, either while editing a snippet or adding a new one. Just like the rules for “Assignment Comment Template”, “Assignment Default” will automatically be inserted into Assignments (but not Exams or Worksheets) that do not have any instructor feedback. Unlike “Assignment Comment Template”, you can set multiple snippets as your defaults if you so wish.
The final enhancement you requested was to open up the “Insert Feedback Snippet” box when you hovered your mouse over the instructor feedback text box. You’ll no longer have to click into the feedback text box to insert your snippets into comments or e-mail. Of course, if you’re working on your tablet, you will still have to tap into the text box before you can insert your snippets. This is a limitation on touch-based devices until they understand hovering.
I’ve never felt like I was in the cookie business. I’ve always been in a feel good feeling business. My job is to sell joy. My job is to sell happiness. My job is to sell an experience.
~ Debbi Fields
Did you know that the Ucompass developers have a “cookie jar” of ideas that you have shared with us?
From time to time everyone loves (or has loved) a cookie. Isn’t that right?
No matter how much you like those chocolate chips or peanut butter goodies, there are times when you are just too full to take another bite.
That is the case, right?
Some cookies are just too good to throw away. We put them into a cookie jar to eat tomorrow. Just like the cookies, we save your ideas for when we just feel like having another.
Never let good cookies go to waste; never let good ideas get lost!
Could we have a setting … so when I open a mixed exam it auto scrolls to the first essay question? Usually the questions are located near the bottom.
Here we go! Fasten those seat belts!
When checking exams that have essays to grade, you will notice this new window in the upper right corner.
When you click NEXT UNGRADED ESSAY, your page will do just that … scroll to the next ungraded essay!
Also please notice the number of ungraded essays remaining. As you correct each of those essays, the count will even reflect your progress.
What do you think?
Sometimes I forget to access the TA controls. It’s no big deal, but it takes a little time, and I just annoy myself. It would help if I could access as a TA right away.
We thought about how often a teacher might want to enter a course as a student compared to entering as a teaching assistant. Quite frankly, we were challenged to come up with very many cases that a student was your preferred role. So …
You will now enter courses in which you are a teaching assistant as a TA! How are we doing?
Those are the newest cookies in the jar. Now we have some older ones (but still good!) that you might have missed, and they are well worth diving into.
You recently wrote:
I noticed today that my history classes don’t have the ADD AUDIO/ADD VIDEO options when I am giving assignment feedback. It is in my Spanish classes. Can we have it in all courses?
Yes, you can! While we are reinventing audio and video tools, you can certainly embed the current ones as you see fit. Just follow these steps …
Click on the TOOLBOX at the bottom of your Educator page and then select the AUDIO/VIDEO CONTROLS link.
You can then “test” using the tools by clicking the USE links. All you need do to activate the tools in your course is select the check-box and (as always) click SUBMIT.
Done! Still doing OK?
You also recently wrote:
In our course, students attach .txt files that are needed when I test their Java programs. Educator has never allowed me to download .txt files.
To get the actual contents of the .txt file, I can do about 10 clicks and then copy and paste it into a text file and save, but that isn’t time effective.
Is there a way .txt files could be downloaded just like other files in Educator?
Do you recall how we recently added the ability to selectively download files submitted by a student?
If you recall, the downloaded files are automagically compressed into a .ZIP file.
Going forward … you can just select the .TXT file and it will be downloaded as a compressed file. You will still need to add the one extra step to open it up, but that’s a lot faster than “10 clicks.”
Do you agree?
One last toolbar modification …
The DISCUSSION panel has been changed to illustrate the number of UNREAD discussions. This was a common request. Let’s see how it goes.
That’s about all that we have in the cookie jar this week. Do you care to bake some more for these cookie-loving developers?
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
~ Thomas Jefferson
This is obviously not going to be too long-winded here. It’s actually quite simple and direct …
Someone wrote, and others agreed:
When grading, some of the assessments in my course (AP Computer Science) can have up to 7 files to download. If there was a “button” to click to say “download all”, that would save me MANY clicks.
(Now we ask students to Zip the files to make it easier to upload and download…but not all “get” the message…)
You’ will notice some new options for Attached Files when grading student assignments:
If you only want to download certain files, just select them. You no longer have to download each one separately! Select the ones you want, and then click the highlighted download button.
PLEASE NOTE: If you want to download ALL files, you could either select all or none. Either way … ALL FILES will be downloaded. What do you think?
Yes. Download those files today, and we’ll double the deal!
From now on … all downloaded files will be zipped automatically!
Give it a whirl, and talk to us. Have your friends talk to us. The more friends we make, the more work we get done for you and your students.
BTW … remember that Word advice from earlier this week? The problems with snippet characters have diminished significantly. Do you know why these have gone down?
In part it is because you followed our advice. Thank you. It’s also due to the diligence of one of our developers. Do you remember Steve Lippert? He is our Snippet Master. Do you know how many snippets have been created in the past 2 weeks? Do you know the record for snippets created by one teacher? Good questions; fun stuff! Look for the Snippet Master on our Facebook page.
If you can’t explain something in a few words, try fewer.
~ Robert Brault
It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
~ Napoleon Hill
Almost everyone uses Microsoft Word at one time or another. It’s great for checking grammar and spelling. Many pages from this blog were begun in Word or another word processor.
As Educator continues to grow, many custom features are being built into it. With more than 1000 eager teachers using new features, we often learn or relearn peculiarities with browsers, displays, and even Word.
Content developers already know this. Some teachers already know this. Web developers certainly know this. Now we all know this …
Do not copy directly from Word into Educator or any web-based editor.
Why? When you copy text to your clipboard from any Microsoft product, you are copying all of the invisible Microsoft XML formatting that goes with the text. Yes, all the invisible gremlins ride along your copy. In other words, you’re essentially copying HTML. You are copying everything … the markup and the inline formatting. Not good! Here is what happens when you copy directly from Word into your Feedback Snippets:
Now what? There are probably numerous solutions, and we invite yours.
The simplest one for this editor is to copy from Word into Notepad or any plain text editor. From there you can readily copy/paste into your web form. That seems to work best. The other possibility is to type directly into Educator (or web editor), but then who will check grammar and spelling?
As a point of information, the same issue has occurred when copying email from Outlook or table in Excel. This author has learned the hard way!
There will surely be more dialogue about this. Thanks to those teachers who shared this with us. We were able to figure it out in about an hour last night. Hopefully, this will save others from Word Worries. Let us know. Communication works!
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
~ Audrey Hepburn
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